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Forestry operations at Mallards Pike

Updated 8th June 2021

We will be timber harvesting near Mallards Pike from May 2021.

The works will impact some of our trails and access points, this page provides more information about the work we are doing and why.

What is happening?

We will be thinning both conifer and broadleaves, to give the strongest and healthiest trees more space to grow, and to allow more light to the woodland floor. This will include removing some larger conifers on the edge of the lakeside path which are likely to suffer from butt rot (a disease caused by fungi) due to their age. Scots Pine around the car park will be thinned to promote healthy feature trees for long term retention.

The timber produced by this operation will go into the construction industry, fencing, wood panel manufacture for furniture and firewood. Some crown wood will be left on site as wildlife habitat, known as ‘dead wood.’

When we take the wood away from the site we will do our best to use existing routes to minimise the damage to the forest floor, which is inevitable due to the size of the machinery that must be used. Damage to these routes will be repaired where necessary when the work is completed.

Harvesting contracts can take some time and work may have to be paused due to the many constraints that we have to work around. Please bear with us as we carry out this work. We will try to do so with minimal inconvenience to our visitors.

Can I still visit this woodland?

Yes - the woodland will remain open throughout our harvesting operations, but the most important thing for us is to keep the public, our staff, and contractors safe. We will have safety and operational signage displayed, diversions, closures, and banks persons in position where needed. Key areas affected:

  • The lakeside path - we will be removing some trees directly on the side of the lake and so will have to temporarily close sections of the lakeside path for a short period. This work is taking place Thursday 10 and Friday 11 June.
  • All of the running trails will be affected at some point over the next few months. Diversions will be put in place where required.
  • The car park will be closed after 5pm for a few evenings in June whilst we remove trees in this area. This is currently planned for Monday 14 - Wednesday 16 June.

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Diversions and temporary closures will be in place while operators are working near to the trails and we will do our best to reopen them as soon as it is safe to do so. This is for the safety of forest users and workers, so please take note of all signage and be prepared to turn around if asked to do so.

Forestry work is very hazardous. A falling tree can weigh several tonnes and hit the ground at nearly 60mph. If a harvesting machine chainsaw snaps, it can fly through the forest like a bullet.

View this map to see where work will be taking place.

What about the wildlife?

Well managed forests are able to support more wildlife, and harvesting trees is an important part of a sustainable forest lifecycle. Before we start any forestry work, we carry out ecological surveys to check for species such as birds, mammals, rodents, invertebrates, native plants such as bluebells and fungi. We also consider these against complex factors including tree health, ground conditions and likely rainfall when planning work that will support our long-term management plan. While working, we continue to check for wildlife and will adapt, pause or suspend work if we find any animal that must be protected.

Forestry England works with others to develop good practice and guidance and we have co-published with the RSPB two booklets about woodland management for birds. Forestry operations are very complex processes and there are so many factors to balance. It is an essential part of the cycle, as it makes space for regrowth and develops robust, healthy and diverse forest areas.

Why is this work being completed in spring/summer months?

In order to support the rural economy, we must continue to work throughout the year. It is important for us to balance competing objectives in order to keep contractors employed for the greater good of the woodland as a whole. We also cannot physically complete our programme of work outside of the nesting season. The small part of the forest that is worked through the nesting season are in areas of lower risk, which then leaves the vast majority of the forest undisturbed for wildlife. Parts of this woodland are also known to be soft and the ground becomes too wet for the machinery to operate during the winter months.

Before we start any forestry work, we carry out ecological surveys to check for species and native plants. While working, we continue to check for wildlife and will adapt, pause or suspend work if we find any animal that must be protected. The area may look damaged for a period, however over time the forest floor will recover and will actually thrive from the extra nutrients that get put back into the soil from harvesting. This process does take time and it may take a few years, but we are working for the long-term future of our forests.
 

If you would like any further information, please get in touch via westengland@forestryengland.uk